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Ex-councilor Bateman sentenced to 27 months in prison

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Paul C. Bateman Jr., a former Democratic city-county councilor, was sentenced on Monday to 27 months in prison for his part in defrauding an Indianapolis physician of $1.7 million.

Bateman, 58, pleaded guilty in Jan. to 13 counts of money laundering and fraud related to the scheme. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt also ordered Bateman to serve supervised release when he leaves prison.

Partner Michael Russell pleaded guilty to fraud charges and was sentenced on May 14 to more than four years in prison. Manuel Gonzales, a third man indicted in the fraud scheme, was acquitted by a federal jury in February of three counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering.

Bateman, along with Russell, has also agreed to pay back the $1.7 million they obtained from Dr. Arthur Summral.

According to the federal indictment, Russell—also known as Rev. Michael L. Russell—co-founded The Russell Foundation in 2003 and proposed that the foundation fund itself through the production and distribution of ethanol. Bateman served as chief administrative officer and chief corporate officer of the foundation.

According to prosecutors, Russell approached the physician in January 2007 during a medical appointment about making an investment in an entity later established as Indiana Ethanol Capital Investments LLC. Russell and Bateman attended several meetings with the doctor at a Denny's restaurant to further sell him on the investment.

Russell told the physician that the ethanol operation could reap an $18.5 million return on a $600,000 investment, and that he would be the last of 12 people to invest in it. In fact, the doctor was the only investor.

From February to April 2007, according to court documents, Bateman picked up five checks from the victim for the ethanol investment totaling $702,000, most of which was deposited into Bateman’s personal account.

Later in 2007, Russell and Bateman again solicited money from the victim, successfully urging him to invest $1 million in a corporate bond for the Russell Foundation, according to U.S. attorneys.

A large portion of the investor's money was spent on cars, custom clothing, home furnishings, entertainment and “elaborate security details” that included members of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the indictment said.

Bateman also used $22,187.60 to pay his income taxes, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors said Bateman used his public position to lend credibility to the foundation. Bateman was a city-county councilor for six years, leaving office when his term ended in 2011.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office cares about one thing, and one thing only: the truth,” U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said Monday in announcing the sentence. “That is what the citizens expect and deserve from their public servants, and together with our law enforcement partners, we’re working to bring this culture of corruption to
an end in Indianapolis and across the state.”

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  • corrupt?
    A corrupt Democrat ha surprised the media didn't stash this story in the archives. Show me a dem that isn't corrupt or full of fraudulent crony politics and i'll be more surprised. This guy needs a minimum of 10 years, not a measly 27 months.
  • Really?
    27 months, REALLY? That is certainly a deterrent to anyone else considering fleecing the public. Did they at least say he would have to stay in prision the entire time with no early release then work the rest of his life to repay the money?

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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